16 May 2000The Arles meeting was set up in 1998 by Sir Eddie Kulukundis in co-operation with the French Athletics Federation. It was felt that there was a need for an early season combined events meeting in warm weather to give a competitive opportunity to emerging athletes. The meeting, which will take place 3-4 June, also includes some field events: shot, discus, long jump and pole vault in 2000.
As well as athletes sponsored by UK Athletics and the Lottery, other athletes will travel to Arles with the support of the British Athletic Field Event Charitable Trust (BAFECT), an organisation set up by Sir Eddie Kulukundis to encourage success in field and combined events.
In was at the Arles meeting in 1999 that Dean Macey made a major breakthrough when he won the decathlon with a personal best score of 8347 points, a score which has only ever been bettered by Daley Thompson amongst British decathletes. Dean went on to win the Silver medal at the 1999 IAAF World Championships in Seville. The womans heptathlon was won by Eunice Barber of France who won Gold in Seville.
The combined events sees the participation of our six top athletes behind Dean Macey and Denise Lewis. Jamie Quarry, (PB 7739 set in Arles in 1999) was GB number one in 1998. Fellow Scot Alexis Sharp (PB 7571) who won the AAAs in 1997 will contest his first decathlon since placing ninth in the Commonwealth Games. Welshman Paul Jones (PB 6940) is the reigning AAA Indoor and Outdoor Champion.
Kerry Jury (PB 6005) is the GB number two and was fifth in the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Nicole Gautier (PB 5760) was fifth in the European Under 23s last year. Julia Bennett (PB 5747) was the winner of the Vittel Match this winter and competed for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the high jump at Glasgow in March.
Performances achieved at the Arles meeting will be important in the selection of the team of four men and four women for the European Cup of Combined Events 1-2 July in Denmark (men) and Switzerland (women).
In the pole vault, GB number one Janine Whitlock (PB 4.31) placed fifth at this years European Indoors and has now set 30 British Records.
Long jumper Nathan Morgan (PB 8.11) returns from injury to compete for the first time since the 1999 World Championships. He added a European Under 23 Bronze medal last year to his Under 20 Gold from 1997.
AAA Indoor long jump Champion Jade Johnson (PB 6.52) will face her great rival Sarah Claxton (PB 6.56), the four time English Schools Champion.